Most of us associate the term “brand” with companies or sports figures which market their products or personas. The billions of dollars that are invested each year into building and maintaining these brands demonstrates the importance of branding.
As an individual, you have a brand as well. There are 3 components to your personal brand – your digital footprint, your resume, and your reputation. I can tell you from experience that all future hiring managers, myself included, will look to social media first (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to get a quick snapshot of who you are. This is where first (and lasting!) impressions are shaped, so it’s very important to present yourself professionally online.
The next representation of your brand is your resume or CV, which should contain relevant (and accurate) details about your experiences and education. This document should also be professional and appealing.
Lastly, your reputation is based on your track record of accomplishment and what is being said about you in your industry by previous bosses, co-workers, clients, or subordinates.
Every day we counsel prospective candidates on the most effective way to market themselves, and I have found that there are two questions to ask yourself as you start the process of building your brand:
- What would you want a potential hiring manager to associate with you when they think of your name & experience?
- Is there a certain area in which you want to be identified as an expert/industry leader?
In looking at your digital footprint, when was the last time you Googled yourself? You might be surprised (pleasantly I hope) about the information already available on yourself. I suggest setting up alerts to notify you when your name appears and going forward check for new entries regularly. I like to follow this check-list to monitor and maintain my brand:
- Is your LinkedIn profile up-to-date and do you have a professional picture associated with your profile?
- Have you reached out to colleagues, business partners, and managers and asked for recommendations that can be shared on your LinkedIn profile?
- Does your profile mirror your resume and does it accurately convey the message of who you are and your accomplishments?
- Is your Facebook page visible to the general public or private? Do you have any inappropriate photos, videos, or comments publicly posted on social media? Have you tweeted something controversial or offensive?
- Make sure that your personal social media presence is squeaky clean or well-hidden from public view.
Ensure your resume is a reflection of your personal brand as well. Your resume should be formatted so that a potential employer can quickly scan it and get an understanding of your capabilities with enough intrigue to read it again for more details. Keep it simple, avoiding unnecessary graphics or photographs. Be sure to include all of your relevant experience and accomplishments. Below is a link to some resume tips (and a sample resume) on our website that we often share with candidates as they are preparing or refining their current resumes.
Last but not least – be attentive to your reputation and always work to build a positive perception in the workplace. Are you professional at the office and do you treat others with respect? Are you a team player and do you work well with others? Do you always meet your commitments and goals? Are you open to other people’s opinions? Have you ever burned bridges or hurt important relationships at work? Do people genuinely like working with you? All of these factors can impact your reputation and will become a very important component of your personal brand.
Always be mindful of how you are branding yourself through your resume, your digital footprint, and your professional reputation. A prepared and compelling personal brand can yield tremendous ROI in planning that next strategic career move.
Success lies in the preparation! For additional job-seeking resources head over to Dennis Partners